In this tale, for young readers, award-winning Edwidge Danticat tells the story of Junior, a seven-year-old boy trapped beneath his house after the Port-au-Prince earthquake and his rescue. While trapped during the earthquake, Junior calls on his imagination and the love he has for his friends and his family to help him find the strength to survive.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
Sheldon Allan “Shel” Silverstein (1930-1999) was an American poet, cartoonist, and author of children’s books. “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is one of Silverstein's most famous poems, in which the sidewalk represents the path from childhood to adulthood.
Introduce this text before students begin Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, and ask students to consider the way in which the speaker in the poem uses imagery to convey the journey from childhood to adulthood. What are the different ways a child’s imagination is captured within the poem? How are children symbolized within the poem? Ask students to consider this poem, alongside ideas of innocence and imagination within children, as they begin to read Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.
The informational text “On Second Anniversary, Haiti Still Recovering from Earthquake” describes the progress that still needs to be made in Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Introduce this text after students have completed Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, in order to provide them with some information on Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake Ask students to compare Carlos's experiences to Junior’s experience. How might students use the article to imagine what life would be like for Junior and his family two years after the earthquake? How would they deal with their situation two years on? How would Junior use his imagination to order to maintain hope and a positive attitude toward the future? What might Junior say to Carlos?
In the opening chapter from Carroll's classic novel, Alice follows the frantic White Rabbit down into a fantasy world.
Pair Down The Rabbit Hole with Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, and ask students to discuss how each text portrays children. How does Junior value imagination when compared to Alice?
Longfellow’s poem “The Children’s Hour” describes the life of the poet’s own three daughters.
Introduce this text after students have completed Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, in order to encourage them to use the poem to explore some of the themes in the book. Have students consider the affection that the speaker in the poem has for his children. How does the way that they express their affection contrast with the way Junior talks about his own family? In what ways are both the book and the poem sentimental and playful? How do both texts reflect the themes of carefree youth, love, family, and childhood?